Five Things That Could Be Triggering Your Migraines

Migraine pain can be debilitating, causing missed work days, broken plans, and general disruption of your life. If you know that particular substances, sensations, or situations can cause a migraine, you may be able to limit your exposure to those triggers and lessen the number of headaches you have.

Our team here at Primary Medical Associates of Long Island has pulled together some information for you on five things that often trigger migraines.

1. Food and drink

Triggers vary from person to person, so you may find some or none of these affect your pain. Among foods and drinks, common culprits include:

In addition to avoiding particular foods and beverages, you may also find that when you eat matters. For some people, hunger is a migraine trigger, and for others mild dehydration causes migraines. Eating a balanced, nutritious diet with meals at regular intervals and drinking plenty of water throughout the day may be a good approach to help limit your migraines.

2. Changes in your schedule

It’s not only eating regularly that may help avoid migraines, but doing other things the same way may help, too. For example, a change in your sleep schedule may cause a migraine. Getting too little or too much sleep can both elicit migraines in some people.

If you regularly have migraines on the weekends, you may want to be especially cautious about maintaining your routine. Many people relax on the weekends by sleeping in or eating at a different time than usual. If changing your routine brings on migraines, you may want to reconsider your method of relaxing.

3. Stress

Specific stressful situations and overall stress can both trigger migraines. Obviously, you aren’t going to be able to completely eliminate stress from your life, but there are ways to mitigate it, and you can learn new tools for managing it.

Regular exercise, for at least 30 minutes a day, is a healthy way to ease stress, and also serves to keep your body healthy at the same time. Whether you choose to simply go for walks, take a class at the gym, or do some other activity, you may find that exercise decreases the number of migraines you have.

Other approaches, such as meditation or yoga, may be useful for reducing the amount of stress you feel. You don’t necessarily need to set aside a great deal of time in order to reap the benefits. Simply taking a few minutes here and there throughout your day to focus on your breathing and how you feel can help.

For some people, the best way to lower stress levels is to build time into your schedule to do an activity you enjoy. Reading, gardening, doing something related to a hobby you enjoy, or hanging out with friends or loved ones can help reduce stress -- and possibly the number of migraines you have.

4. Environmental factors

External factors that may be out of your control can also be migraine triggers. For example, sudden changes in the weather can bring on migraines for some people.

Other environmental factors that may prompt migraines include:

If you find that sensory stimuli such as scents, sounds, or lights are migraine triggers for you, you can take steps to limit your exposure, such as letting coworkers, friends, and family know. You may be able to make small changes at work to reduce glare from lights, or wear noise cancelling headphones to help limit auditory stimuli.

5. Hormonal changes or medications

If you experience migraines at a particular stage of your menstrual cycle each month, hormonal changes could be a problem for you. Menopause, hormone replacement therapy, and hormonal birth control are all common triggers among women who get migraines.

Medications for conditions unrelated to migraines may also be an issue. If hormonal changes or a medication you take appears to activate migraines, one of our providers may have helpful suggestions.

Book your appointment online or by phone at Primary Medical Associates of Long Island to discuss your migraines with an expert. Identifying your triggers is a good first step, but your provider may have additional insights to help you limit the number and severity of your migraines.

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